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Success Stories

Many productions have discovered the advantages of coming to Michigan. The production companies have been pleased with the results, and hundreds of residents, vendors and business owners have had positive experiences, also. Here are a few of their stories.



Kalamazoo native Jennifer Westin returned home to produce her first project after working on both coasts for several years, overseeing a script’s revision specifically to take place in Western Michigan. Westin conducted her own Michigan filmmaking lab, housing the writer/director and their lead actors for several weeks at her family’s beach house near South Haven. “It was a lot like camp,” she says. There, The Lake Effect was revised and polished for filming this summer, and stars Disney Channel star Kay Panabaker, who soon appears in MGM’s upcoming remake, Fame.

With an ultra-low budget and crew, not to mention 13 local actors, the show provided great experience to many apprentices in the area, where the crew base is still building. Some very experienced keys, and a cinematographer who has shot around the world were glad to mentor the young, hungry crew. “Enthusiasm and responsibility are as important as skill,” says Westin.

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The Lake Effect Poster